Waiting, hoping, and wondering. They clung to a hope they could not see. They believed a promise that seemed impossible. They kept their faith even when things were dreadfully bleak. They waited.
These saints of old waited for the promise. The King would come and set things right. This is the essence of Advent – an expectant, unwavering, hope-filled waiting.
I can’t imagine what it must have been like to have such deep expectation for a promise and not live long enough to see it come to fruition. However, men and women of God didn’t give up. They chose to believe their Advent King would come.
The promise of the coming Messiah is beautifully woven even from the beginning of the bible till the promise comes to pass. A thread of hope remained for the people of God. Judges, prophets, and psalmists spoke of the One to come. They spoke of reconciliation, restoration, and joy.
The King of Israel, the Lord is in your midst…The Lord your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.
~Zephaniah 3:15b; 17
I read these words and find peace. I ponder the beauty and power of the King – Immanuel – being present and with us now. I think about saints of old and how they only had the whisper of the promise, but they clung to that promise knowing and believing God would keep His covenant.
Zephaniah reminds the people to not be afraid because salvation would come. It has come. We are living on the other side of Advent and await Christ’s return, but when I think about Christmas, I remember to hope again. I remember salvation. I remember the Mighty One isn’t far. He is near. I remember these words don’t belong to only me, they were meant to be shared. Zephaniah reminds us to “Be glad and rejoice with all your heart! The Lord has taken away your judgments; cast out your enemy” (3:15). The message hasn’t expired. It is for now. It is for us all.
The noise of this world can be so loud that we cannot hear the whisper of the promise, but it’s there. Maybe we forget because our failures scream our defeat while our hearts choose to believe we have been accepted and forgiven. Maybe we’re living with crippling condemnation. Maybe our faith is tattered, torn, and frail. Maybe we are overwhelmed by the brokenness of our world. Maybe we just got too busy; but the promise remains. Confident expectation still remains.
We now have the opportunity to share the joy of the promise with people around us. We can be a Zephaniah to someone else and point them to the Advent King. The coming of the Christ King silences every accusation. He stills the restless rumbling in the soul. His love covers us and removes the shame. He holds us close to His heart and never lets us go. His rejoicing song pierces the darkness.
Do you hear the melody of Christmas coming to bring you back to hope, peace, faith, and love? It is a whisper speaking life. Beloved, do not “let your hands be weak. The Lord your God [is] in your midst” (Zephaniah 3:14). He is with us. Our Advent King will come again.
Share the true message of Christmas. So many heavy hearts are waiting, ready for Light to fill their days. He, the Christ, is in our midst. The King is here. Shhh … be still. Our Love is here.
NKJV Study Bible. Radmacher, gen ed. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997.